The Birth of Venus is a painting by Sandro Botticelli, made in 1486. The goddess Venus (Aphrodite to the Greeks) emerges from the sea on a shell, like the myth that explains how she was born. Her shell of a boat is being pushed to shore from the winds that the Zephyr wind gods are blowing. As Venus is about to go to shore, a nymph is reaching out to cover her with cloth. This painting is one of the most legendary of the Renaissance.
In Renaissance times, Christianity was the main theme, and it was uncommon for paintings to depict nude women. It was seen as sinful lust. Naturally, it was quite odd that Venus was nude here. There are thoughts that Botticelli chose to make Venus nude because his contemporaries at the time were getting into ancient Greek art and Greek ideals of beauty.
Many aspects of the painting are in motion. The roses floating, the water moving, her hair being blown by the Zephyrs, and the cloth waving in the wind give it a lively feel. Venus’s long golden hair might have been inspired by Penitent Magdalene, by Donatello.
The Birth of Venus has preserved very well over the course of many centuries. It remains bright and vivid today and there are very little cracks or sign of damage.